Who will you turn to for support when the mob comes baying for your cancellation?

You wouldn’t waste your time with the Conservative Party, of course. Touting conservative rhetoric at elections is about as far as it is willing to go; beyond this point, it is a fully signed up member of the liberal establishment.

Until last week, I thought you might have had some luck with relatively well-known conservative commentators. The David Starkey affair has revealed this to have been a nonsense.

Figures who usually pride themselves on their opposition to the overnight cancelling of hard-fought-for careers slung the racist label in moments. Did they actually listen to the clip in which Dr. Starkey (clumsily and stupidly) used the word ‘damn’ to emphasise a point, rather than to express his exasperation regarding the existence of black people? I doubt it.

What about the supposed conservative newspapers? On Saturday 4th, the day after Dr. Starkey lost everything, The Times wrote a small, hard-to-find column on page seven, which did nothing but list those figures who had come out to denounce the formerly respected historian. A small note, commenting that the word ‘damn’ may have been used for emphasis rather than as an expression of racism, was not even left in for balance. Dr. Starkey, brushed off as being ‘best known for his work on the Tudors’, was granted nothing.

This is very important. When I first read that the line ‘slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks [my emphasis] in Africa or in Britain, would there?’ was uttered in an interview, I was disgusted. Blatant racism. But when I listened to the clip, it became clear in an instant that, whilst the use of the word was thoughtless (at best), it was not an expression of racial hatred. It was used to emphasise the point. I urge you to listen to this, too.

How about The Daily Telegraph – another supposed “Tory” paper. This piece (on page fifteen) was slightly easier to find, and said a little more about Dr. Starkey’s impressive career – but still left no note regarding the possibility that the historian had merely tried to emphasise his point.

‘The absence of any apology from him, I think is extremely disappointing’, the paper quoted Dr. Starkey’s employer at the University of Buckingham. This was one day after his sacking. Dr. Starkey does not possess any social media accounts, and was suffering what must have been the most stressful (and painful) experience of his professional life. Why couldn’t these people wait before leading to the racism accusation?

Dr. Starkey has now released a statement, in which he apologies profusely for his terrible choice of wording, but clarifies also what is obvious from listening to the clip – that ‘damn’ was used merely to emphasise his point. This word has ended his career, in what seems to me to be a sinister repeat of the Roger Scruton affair (perhaps more sinister – considering the pile-on from supposed small-c conservatives).

One interesting quote in The Daily Telegraph reveals all. Historian Dr. Louise Raw comments that ‘he’s been saying this stuff for years’. The left could not wait to cancel Dr. Starkey. They were itching to do so.

But what excuse do conservatives have? Possibly cowardice. Perhaps even a desire to pander to the left. Whatever it is, the conservative movement has suffered significantly as a result. You may be next.

 

Photo by Surrey County Council News on Flickr.

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